What is a sedentary lifestyle and how can you avoid it?


A sedentary lifestyle means spending too much time sitting down and not enough standing up, moving around and generally being active.

Being sedentary does not necessarily mean not doing any exercise. You can go to the gym three times a week and still technically have a sedentary lifestyle.

The issue to tackle here is the fact that most of us spend at least seven hours a day sitting still, whether that’s in front of a computer, watching TV, on a bus, in a car or even a pub.

Research shows that sitting down for too long (more than 10 hours a day) significantly slows down metabolism, impacting our body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. All factors that are linked to conditions such as type 2 diabetes and being overweight.

On top of the 150 minutes of moderate exercise you should be doing a week (hit this link to read about the benefits of regular exercise) you should also try and make an effort to move around during the day.

The good news is that we don’t mean you now need to rack up an extra 10,000 steps onto your daily target. Think little and often, rather than lots in short bursts.

In fact, to give you an idea, we’ve made a list of easy ways you can defeat a sedentary lifestyle:

  • Set an alarm to stand up and walk around your office every 30 minutes

  • Try and go for a walk at lunch, even if it’s just around your block

  • Place a laptop on a box or similar to work standing

  • Stand up on the train or bus

  • Try and only use the car for long journeys, walk or cycle everywhere else

  • Swap watching TV for active hobbies like gardening or yoga

  • Even cleaning counts as movement - time to dust those top shelves!

  • If you have a dog, walk it twice a day rather than once. You’ll have a happier dog and a better metabolism!

  • Stand around or walk when talking on the phone

Basically, try and reduce the time you spend sitting down and instead do small, constant movements.